It’s not a question that most people ever have to ponder but for at least some of the women who were branded as part of Keith Raniere’s sick and perverse DOS scheme, it’s one they probably consider on a daily basis.
How exactly does one get rid of a branding scar?
The short answer is “It depends on a lot of factors”. First and foremost among those factors is how long it’s been since the branding took place. Basically, the longer you wait, the fewer options you have.
It also depends on where the branding scar is located – which, unfortunately for all the DOS women, is the pubic area. That location automatically limits the number of options they’ll have to choose from – especially for those who are still hoping to have children.
Another factor is the size of the scar. Since each of the DOS brands was done free-hand by Dr. Danielle Roberts, there’s no uniform size. But, on average, it appears they are within an area that measures 3” by 4”.
So, what options are there for the DOS women? Basically two types: Non-Surgical and Surgical.
The Non-Surgical Options include Silicone Gel Sheeting, Topical Silicone Gels, Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections, and Laser Treatments. Here are the plusses and minuses of hose options:
- Silicone Gel Sheeting: These are rectangular sheets that have one adhesive side – and are made out of a material that allows oxygen to pass through. But they usually don’t remove an entire scar – and leave behind a “shadow” of it.
- Topical Silicone Gels: These are a relatively new treatment modality and have proven especially useful in areas where silicone gel sheeting is not practical: e.g., elbows, knees, etc. But they have to be applied at least twice a day – and they must be allowed to totally dry before the affected area can be covered with clothing (Drying time varies but 10-15 minutes is fairly normal). And, once again, they tend to reduce – rather than eliminate – scars.
- Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections: These steroid injections are used to treat a variety of skin conditions. But because they involve breaking through the skin, they also pose a variety of potential medical problems: e.g., allergic reactions, infections, skin atrophy, etc. And, as with the silicone treatments, they often leave behind “shadows”.
- Laser Treatments: Although these treatments will not completely remove scars, they can reduce their overall appearance and thickness – and provide some relief from the itching that usually accompanies them. But they are usually only administered by board-certified dermatologists – and are not considered as medical treatments by insurance companies.
The Surgical Options include Excision and Skin Grafting or a combination of the two procedures.
- Excision: This procedure involves cutting out the scar tissue – and then closing the wound. As a result, excisions by themselves are usually only used in relatively small areas.
- Skin Grafts: These are often done in conjunction with excisions to cover larger areas. But they often involve several procedures that have to take place over the course of several months.
Artwork is part of any culture that is to survive: Women strip and are branded on their pubic region with the initials of Keith Raniere. This is from the artwork of one of the DOS slaves, Michelle Salzman.
As might be expected, removing branding scars is not an everyday practice. But based on responses from several medical professionals who were able to look at a picture of Sarah Edmondson’s branding scar, it appears quite likely that most of the DOS women will require some sort of incision and skin graft in order to totally remove their KR-AM brands.
These same medical professionals indicated that the costs for doing the necessary work would likely be at least $15,000-$20,000 – and said it was very unlikely that any of those costs would be covered by insurance.
So, where will the money come from for those branded women who no longer want to have a KR-AM brand on their crotch?
I guess there could be a series of GoFundMe campaigns.
Or maybe the Bronfman sisters could begin to make amends for all the damage they caused by funding Raniere and the NXIVM cult – and set up a Trust Fund for that purpose.